Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. I John 3.16

John 3.16 is one of the most popular and well loved verses. It is commonly used to persuade others to follow Jesus. And many people share this verse as they emphasize the truth of God’s love. Meanwhile I John 3.16 can often be overlooked, it is not so strange, the similarity, since the gospel and the epistle were both written by the apostle John.

We can know (perceive) without a doubt that God loves us. We know this based upon the truth that He laid down His life for us, and for the world. (Greater love hath no man than this, than that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15.13) Because of God’s love for us and because of His sacrifice we are told to lay down our lives. (Ephesians 5.1-2) So many passages emphasize the importance of sacrifice, and so many suggest that we do it because God did it for us. But we don’t sacrifice much. There is no reason to be discouraged, for the moment embrace God’s love.  As we continue to be taught and changed by the Spirit, I trust that our love (ultimately His love) will increase and eventually flow out of us.